World Sight Day 2017 Congressional Briefing Examines the Relationships Between Vision Impairment and Cognitive Decline
From left: Bhavani Iyer, OD, FAAO (University of Texas Health Science Center), Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH (University of Alabama Birmingham), Heather Whitson, MD (Duke University) and Lylas Mogk, MD (Henry Ford Health System)
On October 4, recognizing World Sight Day (WSD) on October 12, VISION 2020 USA held a Congressional Briefing entitled Vision Impairment and Cognitive Decline. A panel of four researchers and clinicians, moderated by VISION 2020 USA Chair Jeff Todd, JD (Prevent Blindness), addressed how converging epidemiologic evidence links vision impairment to risk of cognitive decline and dementia. The speakers noted that the functional challenges imposed by vision impairment are more difficult to overcome when accompanied by cognitive impairments, and vice versa.
This public health challenge is just one of several identified in a report released in September 2016 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM, formerly the Institute of Medicine, IOM), entitled Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow. The report made nine recommendations, including calling on the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, the vision community, and stakeholders to raise national awareness and take action toward reducing the burden of vision impairment and eye disease. Through the report, NASEM wants to transform vision impairments from common to rare and eliminate correctable and avoidable vision impairments in the United States by year 2030.
The 2017 WSD Briefing follows the 2016 WSD Briefing in ensuring that Capitol Hill is aware of the NASEM report and the importance of the implementation of its recommendations. AEVR was proud to be an event sponsor (see full list below), while NAEVR was a sponsor of the NASEM report.
About VISION 2020 USA
VISION 2020 USA has been organized to better coordinate the efforts of the many US organizations working in the field of blindness prevention, both nationally and internationally. VISION 2020 USA is committed to assuring the right to sight for all peoples both within the US and countries outside the US. Launched in 2009, nearly 40 organizations have come together under the VISION 2020 USA umbrella, which is the national entity within the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and its VISION 2020: The Right To Sight initiative.
WSD Briefing Sponsors included:
Alliance for Eye and Vision Research
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Optometric Association
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Casey Eye Institute
Healthy Eyes Alliance
Himalayan Cataract Project
International Eye Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation
Optometry Giving Sight
Vision Impact Institute